Finally, a Russell Wilson trade has been executed.
The NFL’s first real blockbuster of the offseason was pulled off on Tuesday as the Seattle Seahawks sent the star quarterback with a fourth-round pick to the Denver Broncos for a package consisting of quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, two first-round draft picks, two second-round picks, and a fifth-round pick, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Trade rumors had been swirling around Wilson — a nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XLVIII winner — for years now after frustrations with the way the Seahawks were being built around him escalated during the 2020 season.
While it prompted him to downplay such rumors last year, speculation persisted throughout the 2021 season, which was one a down season for him. In 14 games, the 33-year-old completed 64.8% of his passes for 3,113 yards, 25 touchdowns, and six interceptions — quite a testament to just how good he’s been over the past decade.
But Wilson has been stuck behind a Seahawks offensive line that has continuously been one of the worst in football. Since he broke into the league in 2012, Wilson has been sacked 427 times — 62 more than the next closes quarterback in Atlanta Falcons veteran Matt Ryan.
A change of scenery provides Wilson with the promise of playing behind somewhat of a more competent line, though the Broncos still ranked 22 in the NFL last year with a sack percentage of 6.9% (still markedly better than the Seahawks’ 8.5%).
Most of all, though, it finally gives the Broncos a quarterback with a proven track record to work with — something they haven’t had since the retirement of Peyton Manning.
Despite having a top-10 defense in the NFL, the Broncos finished fourth in the AFC West at 7-10 mostly because of an ineffective offense that could not get much out of Teddy Bridgewater or Lock, who drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft by Denver. The Broncos ranked 23rd in points scored and 19th in passing yards gained while their 20 passing touchdowns ranked 25th.
Fant played a large part in Denver’s offense, hauling in a team-high 68 receptions for 670 yards and four touchdowns.
But Wilson’s acquisition is doing wonders for the Broncos’ Super Bowl hopes, too. Per DraftKings, Denvers’ odds to win a fourth Super Bowl crown next year jumped to +1200 from +2500.